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February 1992, Vol. 115, No. 2
Joseph R. Meisneheimer II, Earl F. Mellor, and Leo G. Rydzewski
T he recession that officially began in July 1990 continued into 1991. Real gross domestic product (GDP), the output of goods and services produced within the United States, declined in the first quarter at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.5 percent, after falling at a 3.9-percent rate in the fourth quarter of 1990. Following the first-quarter drop, GDP grew slowly during the rest of 1991. (See table 1.) Meanwhile, the unemployment rate rose nine-tenths of a percentage point over the year, reaching 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter. Nonfarm employment dropped by nearly 900,000 jobs in the first 4 months of 1991, grew very little through October, and fell further late in the year.
This report addresses seven important developments or issues related to the U.S. economy and labor market in 1991. The two primary sources of data for this analysis are the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey of approximately 370,000 nonfarm employers and the Current Population Survey (CPS) of about 60,000 households. Both of these surveys are conducted monthly. Except where noted, however, quarterly averages are used in the analysis.
The recession began in July 1990. Job market deterioration intensified in the first quarter of 1991, and continued into the second quarter.1 The erosion had largely ceased in the summer and early fall, but signs of weakness reemerged late in the year.
This excerpt is from an article published in the February 1992 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 For analytical purposes, the period form July (or the third quarter) of 1990 to the end of 1991 is compared with past recessions. At this writing, no end to the recession has been officially identified by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc., that official arbiter of business cycle peaks and troughs.
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